Tiler Job Description: Duties, Skills and Responsibilities
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Tiler Job Description
A tiler is a person whose job is to lay tiles on floors and walls.
Tiles are used to cover interior and exterior surfaces, such as the floors, walls and ceilings of homes (especially bathrooms and kitchens), commercial and office spaces and outdoor environments, such as gardens, patios, terraces and swimming pools. A thin covering unit of varying size and shape (e.g. squares, rectangles, diamonds), tiles may be made of a range of materials, including ceramics, brick, marble, plastic and natural and artificial stone.
Let’s now look in detail at what the job of a tiler involves.
The first step of a new tiling job is planning. This involves inspecting the area to be tiled (e.g. assessing the surface conditions and taking measurements), defining the preparatory work that needs to be carried out, planning the tile layout, calculating the materials required (e.g. number of tiles and amount of adhesive) and, finally, estimating the total cost of the work.
The next step is execution. First, the old tiles, cement, grout and adhesive are removed and the surfaces levelled off.
Adhesives and cement are then applied using a notched trowel and sponge float and the tiles are positioned in accordance with the planned layout. To install edges and corners, the tiles may need to be trimmed or cut. This is done using a handheld or benchtop tool, such as a tile cutter or wet saw. This operation requires considerable skill on the part of the tiler.
After the tiles have been laid, they need to be finished. This typically involves sealing the tiles, filling the gap between them with grout and cleaning the entire tile surface.
In addition to laying tiles, tilers also carry out a range of other related jobs, such as knocking down and building walls and dry linings and installing other types of wall and floor coverings, such as plaster, marble, wooden parquet flooring and carpeting.
Tiles are often used in construction (mainly in residential and commercial settings, but also in industrial environments) because they are durable and easy to clean and care for. In addition to having a practical function (i.e. to cover and protect wall and floor surfaces), tiles also serve an aesthetic purpose. Thanks to the wide range of colours, designs and formats available, tiles can be combined in a huge variety of ways to add a personal touch to interiors and exteriors and can even be used to create artistic compositions, such as mosaics. For this reason, the ability to execute complex designs and patterns based on a tiling plan layout is an an essential skill for any tiler.
In addition to strong technical skills and an eye for design, tilers also require good physical strength and stamina, as the job involves lifting heavy construction materials and working in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time (making the use of professional knee pads a must).
Tilers are typically employed by building firms, although many also choose to work as self-employed skilled labourers.
Work locations vary according to the assignment a tiler is working on. Possible assignments include residential, commercial and industrial new-build projects, house and apartment remodelling and refurbishment jobs and renovation and restoration work.
Some work assignments may require flexibility and a willingness to travel. Tilers typically work standard daytime hours, although they may be required to put in more time as the completion date of a project approaches.
Tiler Responsibilities and Tasks
The main duties of a tiler are as follows:
- Inspecting surfaces to be tiled
- Providing quotes and estimates (e.g. number of tiles and quantities of materials required, installation time and costs)
- Surface preparation work (e.g. removing old grout and cement and cleaning and levelling surfaces)
- Laying tiles in accordance with tiling plan, cutting tiles where necessary
- Grouting gaps between tiles
- Carrying out finishing work, where necessary
How to Become a Tiler - Training and Requirements
Although there are no specific educational requirements for a career in tiling, newcomers may wish to consider attending a professional tiling course, which are typically run by technical colleges and other training institutes. Aspiring tilers can acquire the strong manual skills and practical experience they need to succeed in the profession by serving an apprenticeship under the supervision of an expert tiler. This will enable them to learn how to use the tools of the trade, which include set squares, spirit levels, trowels, spatulas and caulking trowels, as well as the manual and electric cutters used to trim or cut tiles to the right size.
Tiler: Skills and Qualifications
A tiler requires the following skills:
- Mathematics and measurement skills
- Ability to use tile cutters and other tools of the trade
- Ability to follow specific tiling patterns
- Strong manual skills
- Accuracy, precision and attention to detail
- Strength and stamina
- Eye for design
- Ability to work without supervision
Tiler Career Path
Tilers enjoy a range of potential career options. Skilled and experienced tilers may, for example, choose to broaden their skill set to include other types of flooring and covering (such as marble, parquet, linoleum and vinyl) and become a flooring specialist, or else attend a training course and learn how to create artistic tile compositions, such as mosaics.
Tilers looking for an alternative to specialization can choose to take on greater responsibilities within a construction site team and progress to a role such as foreman or site manager. Another very common career development path for tilers is to work as a self-employed skilled labourer.
Finally, tilers may also find work as a salesperson or commercial consultant for manufacturers of tiles, wall and floor coverings and other building materials.
Top Reasons to Work as a Tiler
Although tiling is a supremely practical profession, it does have its artistic side.
Good tilers manage to combine these two aspects to great effect to produce well-made, beautiful and durable floor and wall coverings. Tiling is a profession that gives immediate tangible results and there are few more rewarding experiences from a professional point of view than being thanked by an appreciative and satisfied client. Another positive aspect is the constant variety, with no two tiling jobs ever the same.
Finally, the sector also offers great earning potential for entrepreneurially-minded individuals who decide to set up their own tiling business.